There wasn’t much to this show, other than it showcased some great in ring action.
I wasn’t aware of Regal making any kind of announcement, so his promo was a pleasant surprise. Some of us may have already known about the Aries vs Corbin match, but it was nice to hear it being announced for Takeover. I’d like to see Regal open up more shows.
Samoa Joe vs Sami Zayn
Did anybody else anticipate this match occurring at the start of the show? I didn’t expect their 2 of 3 falls match to last the entire show. Knowing that the entire episode was dedicated to one match made it feel a lot more important. However, the idea of reviewing a 40 minute match felt daunting.
The contest started off rather slow, but I guess they needed to take their time. Both men did a great job early on at showcasing how important this match was to them. I must applaud the announce team for keeping matters interesting, even when they weren’t. The early part felt like watching the first five minutes of a hockey game, where both competitors were just feeling out the tempo.
I really liked how this entire match played out. Samoa Joe made himself the obvious favourite by dominating Zayn for most of the match. Never once did he come across as an egotistical heel, but just as someone that’s stronger than his opponent. Having him gain the first fall was definitely best for the story being told. Zayn’s comeback was timed perfectly. It wasn’t done early on, although it was executed when he got into panic mode. I also liked how it didn’t last that long. Through and through, this match was a perfect display of each man’s character.
What actually caught me off guard was Joe tapping out to the koji clutch. Even though I knew the end result, I was still expecting Sami to complete the comeback. That just goes to show how convincing both men were. The only thing that wasn’t convincing was Joe’s crossface. He was basically pulling on Zayn’s forehead.
After Joe won this mtch, he looked stronger than ever. He controlled the match from start to finish, and he won in convincing fashion. Both competitors deserve credit, as this was one of the best matches I’ve seen on NXT television.
The formatting of this show was different than usual, but it was a great change of pace. I’d be more willing to see them work episodes like this once or twice a year. There wasn’t a low point, because that entire match was a high point. Overall, I give this episode an 8/10.